ARRL Headquarters staff alumna and Life Member Ellen White, W1YL, is the sole US radio amateur to in 2019 to be awarded the Russian E.T. Krenkel Medal, a prestigious award granted to individuals and organizations for outstanding global contributions to Amateur Radio. In 2018, QSTwas awarded a Krenkel Medal.
First licensed in 1946, White had already learned Morse code in high school, and even today, she only rarely operates any other mode. She served for more than 25 years (1952 – 1978) on the ARRL Headquarters staff, at one point as Contest Branch Manager. Earlier, she had recorded QST on tape for the vision impaired through the US Library of Congress talking book program.
Her husband Bob White, W1CW (SK), was ARRL DXCC manager. Their son Jim White, K4OJ (SK), also once served on the ARRL HQ staff and was president of the Florida Contest Group, which now holds his call sign.
For several years now, Ellen White has been operating via the W7RN remote contest station in Nevada to stay active on CW as W1YL/7, usually on 40 meters at around 1000 UTC. She is on the roster of the A-1 Operators Club and has served as a West Central Florida Assistant Section Manager. The article “A Conversation with Ellen White, W1YL,” by Rosalie White, K1STO (no relation), appeared in the May/June 2015 edition of NCJ.
The award’s namesake, Ernst Teodorovich Krenkel, was a radio amateur who, over the years, used the call signs RAEM, U3AA, and UA3AA. Born in Poland, Krenkel was an Arctic explorer who took part in the first Soviet “drifting station,” North Pole-1. He was made a “Hero of the Soviet Union” in 1938 for his exploits.
Krenkel’s son, T.E. Krenkel, is among the four signatories to the award certificate, this being the 76th certificate presented. The younger Krenkel, a professor at the Moscow Technical College of Telecommunication and Informatics, said his father was an avid radio amateur who served as the first chairman of the Central Radio Club in the USSR.
Krenkel’s image appears on postage stamps from the USSR and Russia, and he authored a biography entitled My Callsign is RAEM. In the era when all radio amateurs received QSL cards via Box 88, Moscow, Krenkel was allowed to have his own postal address on his QSLs and was issued the non-standard RAEM call sign.